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Solar Hot Water
You are not alone if you experience issues with your solar hot water system. Although solar hot water systems are a terrific, eco-friendly method to heat your home's water supply, they are prone to a few frequent issues for owners everywhere in the world.
This post has been prepared to assist you in discovering some of the most common problems associated with using solar water heater systems in your home, whether you're assessing your purchase options or already coping with an issue of your own.
Common Solar Hot Water System Issues
Before we begin, it is vital to note that a solar hot water system has few moving components and is thus exceedingly robust, dependable, and trouble-free. However, several factors could contribute to your system's recurrent issues, including worn-out components, shoddy installations, recurrent servicing neglect, and even unavoidable accidents. Some of the most common problems include:
Corrosion, scaling, and degradation of components
Old solar hot water systems might experience component degradation, scaling, and corrosion. Calcium deposits may accumulate in your system's parts if the water in your house is very hard, leading to leaks, breakdowns, and efficiency losses. Luckily, you can prevent these issues from occurring by having the pipes in your system cleaned with a mild acid, such as dilute HCl, every three to five years.
Alternatively, you can independently reduce the water hardness in your house by using a water softening solution. On the other hand, you should avoid iron or steel components since corrosion may be brought on by oxygen getting into your hot water system. Galvanic corrosion damage can happen if different types of metal interact over time, even if solar hot water systems are specifically made to reduce corrosion.
Clogging of pipes due to sediment accumulation
Clogged pipes from silt accumulation are one of the most typical plumbing issues in a home and are frequently the root of a failing solar hot water system. Blockages come about due to the build-up of silt, filth, and debris in the pipes of your solar water heater over time. Your heater will have to work more and be less effective overall if there isn't a clear channel.
Clearing the pipes of obstructions will immediately boost the overall performance of your solar water heater system while also extending its lifespan if you fear sediment build-up. After following all essential safety steps, you can then flush the sediment out using a specialised cleaning solution to do this.
Although most system warranties cover sediment build-up, annual maintenance inspections are a terrific method to stop the issue from destroying your hot water system components before it's too late. In light of this, silt is often only a problem for systems that are not maintained or monitored.
Solar panels that are coming loose from your roof
There is a chance that they might come loose if a solar installation is not done correctly. To ensure that they are still securely fastened, you should inspect your solar panels regularly. If you find out that the panels are loose, you should have an expert reinstall them immediately.
Generally, inspect your solar panels regularly to check for signs of deterioration and any issues repaired ASAP to enjoy the full benefit of your hot water system. Unfortunately, you might discover that your panels are damaged beyond repair.
If this is the scenario, you are advised against attempting to remove them on your own as you could cause additional damage to your solar system. Therefore, turn to a reliable company to handle your solar panel repairs, and be sure to do your homework on solar firms before settling on one.
Leaking of heat transfer fluid or water
Solar hydronic systems leaking water or heat transfer fluid is more common than you think. It is characterised by the deterioration of your system's components, which will manifest as noticeable hardware damage and leakage from the solar thermal collector.
In situations like this, it's crucial to contact a specialist as quickly as possible to solve the issue. They almost always advise turning off the system using the installed safety switch as the first course of action. You shouldn't attempt to fix the leak yourself from this point on since you run the risk of breaking the system's components and nullifying your warranty.
Any part of your system, including the pipes, heat exchanger, water storage, and leaky roof-mounted collectors, might experience a fluid leak. Luckily such components could be fixed rather than completely replaced. Nevertheless, if leaks are discovered early in a system's lifecycle, faulty parts covered by a warranty must be replaced to limit the likelihood of a subsequent problem.
Insufficient hot water or none at all
If the hot water supply has drastically dropped below typical operating levels, the issue might be one of several factors. If the problem cannot be detected after thoroughly evaluating your complete system for leakage, breakages, ware, and other damages, you may need to bring in an expert.
Homes with increasing hot water demand may naturally outgrow their solar water heater since systems gradually lose efficiency over time. To acquire additional hot water in an existing system, you should be able to upgrade your water tank or add more solar collectors.
Whenever your solar hot water system fails to operate as it should (including troubles with the boost), it is most likely due to a damaged auxiliary valve or another major issue. After confirming that your system is not operating, contact a professional solar hot water specialist for assistance in determining a solution.
Freezing and additional pipe damages
Under unanticipated circumstances, your solar water heating system might freeze, and damage could be terrible. Hydronic solar water heaters employ an antifreeze heat transfer fluid to prevent this from happening, while those that only use water are considerably more prone to sustain damage from freezing conditions.
Components of an entirely water-based system can be programmed to drain automatically to avoid water building up in pipes that could freeze and explode. Many modern, high-tech systems are equipped with "freeze sensors" that, when activated, automatically take the required steps to prevent extreme cold weather-related damages.
It is strongly recommended to switch off the system and contact a professional as soon as you can for leaks caused by freezing, valve breakage, and more. If you want to file an insurance claim, don't forget to snap some photographs before.
Noise issues with the water heater
Whenever your solar high limit control is set low, and the pump shuts off while the sun is still shining outside, a knocking sound will come from the storage water tank. When this happens, it means that steam is entering the water tank from the boiling water in the panel pipes.
To solve this issue, a water tank must be added, a tempering valve must be installed to restrict the water's temperature, you must raise the high limit control, and a controller must be installed to make the pump operate longer and also cool the tank.
Additional Issues With Solar Panels
Homeowners with solar hot water systems must also be aware of these additional issues. The collectors might not capture the most solar energy since the solar panels sometimes have problems. One of the main issues with solar panels is the glass shattering.
As previously mentioned, you should not attempt to fix your solar panels yourself, including the shattered glass, so contact solar installers in your locality to compare prices and decide on your next move.
The coating or absorber paint on your solar panels may have degraded and might be the potential cause of solar panel issues. Condensation on the solar panel's glass can also impair the performance and effectiveness of the panel. As always, all these issues should be addressed by an expert.
Prevent Common Solar Hot Water System Issues
Keep track of your system's performance
Take some time to thoroughly understand all of the figures on the digital display if your solar hot water system has a performance monitor. The easiest method to determine if and how things have changed whenever things go wrong is to understand what "normal" operations look like for your system.
Even though we completely appreciate the importance of a hot shower, using solar hot water carelessly might harm negligent owners. Therefore, set your home's hot water at suitable temperatures and reduce the level of boosting required to satisfy the property's demand to guarantee your system's long-term health and fitness.
By adhering to a set maintenance plan, you may avoid frequent issues with solar water heaters. While you should independently check the system about twice or thrice a year, it is advised to get a comprehensive professional service every five to seven years.
Does Solar-Heated Water Stay Warm At Night?
Yes! Your solar water heater is made in such a manner that it produces a lot of heat throughout the day and stores it correctly so that the water is ready to use during the night. This is primarily the duty of the tank's insulation. If not for this, most solar water heaters wouldn't be helpful for residential or commercial use.
Fixing Your Solar Hot Water System Issues
The numerous ways to resolve the various issues typically follow the same pattern, as you may have observed when reading about some of the most typical problems with solar hot water systems. Here are three simple steps to fix some of your system's problems. But remember, if things get out of hand, you should always contact a professional near you.
Step One: Determine the issue
Determine the problem first. You can skip to three if the only issue you are experiencing is a lack of hot water. On the other hand, if there's a leak that is still ongoing, there is apparent damage, or the device is too loud or performing poorly, please move on to the second step.
Step Two: Shut down your system
Next, shut off your home system's gas, electricity, and water supplies. This entails turning off all of the intake and exhaust valves and shutting down the hot water system as specified in the instruction manual. Take pictures of any damage to your property and strive to make the area safe if it has sustained any damage.
Step Three: Call a professional or troubleshoot your system
Call an expert once you have located the problem and shut off your equipment. You are considerably more likely to benefit from an effective remedy under your system's warranty by having a professional contractor look at the problem unless you are an experienced hot water operator.
What To Do If Your Solar Water System Is Faulty
With proper upkeep and care, solar water heaters might last up to around 30 years or even longer. Some components may require a closer inspection, replacement, or upgrading if your solar panels have been installed and left on the roof for a long time. Unfortunately, it might be difficult, complicated, and costly for you to troubleshoot solar water heater issues.
Hopefully, this article has given you an overall understanding in regards to some of the most frequent issues you might encounter with your solar hot water system. Understanding the most typical problems and being prepared for them is always a good idea.
You might want to get an expert to check if your system is no longer operating correctly. For assistance with your solar water heater, get in touch with a reputable hot water expert near you.